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The Textual Originality of Romans 15–16: Responses

The arguments against the authenticity of Rom 15–16 that have been summarized are, however, inadequate for several reasons, which including the following:

  1. Far from a needless repetition of Rom 12:1ff, Rom 15:1–13 actually provides a necessary continuation of Paul’s argument from Rom 14:1–23 (Murray 2:263–65).
  2. When Paul speaks of ministering “from Jerusalem and around as far as Illyricum” (Rom 15:19), he does not indicate Jerusalem to be the chronological starting point and Illyricum to be the ending point of his ministry. Rather, he uses these cities to designate the geographical bounds for the region of his ministry (Murray 2:213–15).
  3. First Clement 5:7 speaks of Paul reaching “the limit of the west.” While Clement may have surmised from Rom 15:25, 28 that Paul actually did reach Spain, this text at least provides ancient testimony to the plausibility of the Spanish mission. In any case, the fact that Paul did not mention Spain in any of his other letters does not invalidate the usage here any more than the destination(s) given in a company’s first bulk marketing mailing is invalidated because that company or its employees have not previously been to that place.
  4. That Aquilla and Priscilla could not have returned to Rome and established a residence there in the interval between the composition of 1 Corinthians [ca. AD 55 (Carson, Moo, and Morris 283)] and the composition of Romans is by no means certain, especially if Romans is dated later in the period of AD 55–59 (cf. Murray 2:267–68). Moreover, Paul’s greeting so many other people in a city he had never visited does not necessarily provide evidence for non-Pauline authorship of this section of the epistle, since Paul may well have met these people elsewhere, have been introduced to them through correspondence, or have known them through others.
  5. Very little manuscript evidence exists for omitting the doxology, and the consistent testimony of the earliest manuscripts is to have the doxology present at some point (Metzger 534). Additionally, hypothesizing a Marcionite origin for the doxology seems quite strange, since Marcion’s text of Romans did not contain it (Murray 2:263).

In this post:

D. A. Carson, Douglas Moo, and Leon Morris

D. A. Carson, Douglas Moo, and Leon Morris

Michael Holmes

Michael Holmes

Bruce Metzger

Bruce Metzger

John Murray

John Murray


About David Stark

Associate Professor


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This site and its content are licensed by J. David Stark under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person(s) or institution(s).
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